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Macy’s boosts promotional strategy on mobile with wallet enhancement

In reflection of how valuable mobile wallet users are, Macy’s is enhancing its own wallet, which was introduced last year, so as to better guarantee its place on shoppers’ smartphones in an increasingly crowded space.

Macy’s is enhancing its digital wallet with an eye toward reducing shopper dependence on paper coupons while boosting the retailer’s ability to optimize its marketing efforts. At the same time, Macy’s is planning an expansion of its sale-day delivery service, according to published reports, underscoring the growing importance of omnichannel experiences for consumers.

“We encourage our customers to have offers uploaded into their Macy’s Wallet prior to doing any shopping whether in-store or online for the fastest, most seamless experience,” said Orlando Veras, director of national media relations at Macy’s Inc. “It really is a time saver and provides users the opportunity to learn which offers are the best ones to apply to their final purchases.

“Since the launch last year, we’ve seen Macy’s Wallet become an increasingly important and successful service tool for our customers and we look forward to continuing to improve on that experience,” he said.

Uploading coupons
The enhancement to Macy’s wallet enables users to upload coupons before a store visit. It was introduced with a update to the Macy’s app in March and was recently highlighted by an executive in an interview with The Street about how the retailer is looking to enliven stagnant sales.

In the past, newspaper coupons have traditionally been a big part of Macy’s marketing program. However, with the growth in mobile adoption, consumers do not want to have to take the time to cut out a coupon and remember to bring with them to the store.

This is why mobile couponing apps such as SnipSnap and have become popular with consumers.

Digitizing coupons could also help Macy’s better track offer redemptions so it can optimize its efforts going forward.

Macy’s launched the browser-based My Wallet last fall, making it available to in-store, online and mobile shoppers and enabling them to place  credit cards, digital coupons and promotions in one place (see story).

Expanding the features and functionality of the wallet will be critical for Macy’s as the space grows more crowded with entries from Apple, Google and others.

Mobile focus
My Wallet is just one example of how Macy’s is focused on mobile promotions, payments and loyalty, with the retailer also one of the first to embrace Apple Pay and the new coalition loyalty program Plenti (see story).

The wallet news is the latest example of how Macy’s is focused on continuing to build its digital prowess in order to boost sales and profits following recent lackluster financial results.

Macy’s reported last month that overall sales dropped 0.7 percent in the first quarter while comparable sales were down 0.1 percent.

The retailer is reportedly also looking at Web performance and how information is provided on mobile in order to meet shoppers’ needs when it comes to having a choice in how they interact with retailers and convenience.

Omnichannel strategies
Additionally, Macy’s plans to expand a same-day delivery program via mobile app Deliv to additional cities following its roll out last fall to eight markets, such as Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and New Jersey.

The same-day delivery space is also quickly heating up, with merchants such as Starbucks, Whole Foods, Chipotle and others also exploring this strategy.

Macy’s was named the Mobile Retailer of the Year for 2014 by Mobile Commerce Daily for its leadership in combining fashion with mobile technology and for how it has fought back against declining foot traffic by embracing image recognition, beacons, mobile payments and event-driven mobile commerce, bringing added convenience and excitement to the shopping experience in a way few other retailers can match (see story).

“Innovative retailers have discovered a symbiotic relationship between mobile wallet technology that comes pre-installed on the phone (Apple Passbook and Google Wallet) and their own app,” said Mark Tack, vice president of marketing at Vibes. “Most have found that it’s not an either or – it’s a both.

“It’s advantageous to provide shoppers the ability to access mobile coupons from both places,” he said.

“The reality is that only a certain percentage of customers will download a retailer’s app and a smaller percentage will use it. The potential reach is limited, and that is why it’s advantageous to pair a retail app with the pre-installed mobile wallet apps.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York